UVU golf: Michael Dart leads final charge as Wolverines finish third at WAC Championship

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 4 2014 6:35 p.m. MDT

A Sunday score of 300 was just enough for Utah Valley University to overtake Kansas City for third place at the 2014 WAC Championship. The Wolverines entered the round four strokes behind the Kangaroos but were led by a 1-under-par performance from Michael Dart to push into the top three.

With Sunday's result, Utah Valley concludes the 2013-14 season having set a program record with seven top-five finishes. The previous record was six, originally set in the 2010-11 season and tied last year.

"To come back and get third today was a nice moral victory for us," UVU head coach Chris Curran said. "Conditions were tough again today, but the guys battled hard. For having not played our best golf this week, I'm pretty happy with finishing third."

Dart was one of two players to finish below par on the Championship's final day, posting his second 71 of the weekend to finish in fourth place on the individual leaderboard. The junior went 71-74-71 for an even-par 216, as he recorded the best finish of his collegiate career and his second top-five finish this season. He was two shots back of third place and six shots back of individual medalist Pay Beyhan of New Mexico State.

"Mike had a great tournament to post his career's best finish," Curran said. "He was all-around solid today."

The Aggies cruised to their fifth WAC title in the last six years after finishing with a team score of 856 to hold off runner-up Idaho by 10 strokes. NM State saw three golfers finish in the top five, led by Beyhan at 6-under and individual runner-up Kennth Fadke at 4-under.

Four strokes behind UMKC entering the final 18, the Wolverines were able to nip the Kangaroos by a single stroke to claim the third-place position. UVU finished its first WAC Championship with a team score of 889, while UMKC came in fourth at 890. Seattle U (912) also made a move on Sunday, leapfrogging Texas-Pan American (915) for fifth place. Chicago State (940) came in seventh, and Bakersfield rounded out the field at 950.

Utah Valley freshman JT Timmons also finished the tournament in the top 10, coming in a tie for ninth following a final round 75. Timmons went 71-73-75 for a total of 219 in his conference tournament debut.

Brayden Eriksen posted a 76 in his last round to move up six spots into a tie for 29th with a 54-hole total of 230. The junior also earned second team All-WAC honors shortly after the conclusion of the tournament — an honor coming on the heels of his six top-10 finishes during the 2013-14 season, including a pair of runner-up finishes.

Eriksen was just behind sophomore Clark Fredrickson and fellow junior Preston Richards, as they landed in a tie for 27th. Fredrickson and Richards each carded a 78 on the final day for a 229 on the weekend.

Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.